Vancouver Bed and Breakfast

Your eco-friendly home away from home.

Airbnb Scam and bed and breakfast

July is the peak season for Vancouver.  Last weekend in particular was a super busy one with at least three festival so Vancouver Traveller bed and breakfast was full.  Not only was the B&B fully booked, I fielded dozens of phone calls for the July 7 night from people desperate for a room for the night.  At close to 11 pm, Saturday, July 11, it was all peace and quiet in the bed and breakfast.  All guests have returned I was already in my pajama and nodding off when I heard the doorbell ring. I frowned and my heart sank as I wasn’t expecting anyone and doorbell so late at night only bods bad news.

I opened the front door and to my dismay, a woman was staying at the door with a luggage to check-in!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I mentally screamed. My heart palpitated like a rocket and my usually healthy blood pressure was shooting to the moon. The woman said that she booked a room through airbnb. I did my best to stay calm when my mind was racing at light speed to come up with a solution when there was none.

I ran to the basement to look at the reservation book, hoping to see her name somewhere and somehow, find a solution within those pages. Needless to say, it was a waste of time because I could not wave a magic wand and create a vacant room in the B&B from thin air. I went up to the living room and profusely apologized for missing her reservation and said that somehow I would solve the problem…now sure how, but somehow I would.

After what seems like a century, I looked at her airbnb reservation on her cell phone and sure enough, there was the B&B address - 2159 W. 21st Avenue - all neatly spelled out. I swore vehemently in my mind (F*!!). I was going into a depression and a rage at the same time. I was kicking myself over and over for making such a horrifying mistake.

Then I noticed the description was “Spacious Studio”. My heart skipped a beat. Then I saw the picture of the ‘spacious studio" was a Versailles-worthy, extremely ornate bathroom with gold leafed fixtures and mirrors. My blood pressure came down to earth. Then I saw the price of the listing - $39.95 a night. I realized then that I didn’t screw up. I didn’t have to wake up my other sister or my neighbour to beg for a room. I was so relieved that the Hallelujah chorus was playing in my head. My heart was once again beating at a normal pace.

Although relieved, I didn’t know what was happening until my nephew said that it is an airbnb scam. I called airbnb and after making me jumping through ropes, twice, the second agent pronounced that I wasn’t responsible for the reservation and that I did not have to provide accommodation to the poor woman. And that was it. There as no offer of investigation or reassurance of preventing it from happening or taking down the bogus listing. Maybe they would do it but the agent’s tone was that the matter was closed and it was a good resolution.

I emphasized that as a bed and breakfast, I could not afford to have strangers showing up in the middle of the night and waking up sleeping guests (and the family). Furthermore, I certainly did not want the bed and breakfast address to be used by bonus listings. It was only then the airbnb agent said that she would pass on the issue to a specialized team. No, I could not reach them directly by phone or by email. No, she didn’t know how long it would take. No, she didn’t know if I would be reached by phone or by email. No, she didn’t know what to expect next except that someone would contact me somehow within the next 24-48 hours. 

The bright side of the incident was that the poor woman came with her brother so I knew she was with family. If she had come by herself, I would have offered the living sofa as we wouldn’t have the heart to turn a single woman away in the the middle of night in one of the busiest weekends in Vancouver.

My bed never felt so warm and cozy after I went back to it after almost an hour of excitement so I was looking forward to blissful slumber. But no…..I started thinking about missing emails or mixing up reservations that I tossed and turned the night away.

The beautiful, sunny Sunday morning was used to comb through all the emails to double check the reservations.   I was tremendously relieved that all was well in the reservation book and all the names were noted in the right rooms. It was time well spent.

As mentioned  The incident happened on July 7 and I called airbnb the very same night. I get a message in the airbnb inbox on July 13 - almost a week instead of couple days.  But not too bad as I expected and generally accept that kind of timing for a large organization. The content, however, has much room to improve.

Message from airbnb:

“Thanks for reaching out to us on this issue. 
I’ve forwarded your inquiry to a member of my team who can better assist you. They’ll be getting in touch with you soon.”

Now, why am I not surprised??

Posted 17 weeks ago

Diversity and Inclusion in a Vancouver shopping center

Bed and breakfast guests are a special group of people.  Many of them want to get to know a city and its occupants and not just sightseeing.  Vancouver Traveller Bed and Breakfast recently had the pleasure of hosting such a group.  The guests were from different countries and met each other at the breakfast table.  Their jobs were in all in the social fields, from lawyers for the weak and poor, environmentalists, librarians, social workers, geography professors, etc.   The conversations around the breakfast table flowed smoothly from riding bicycles in Stanley Park to football to US politics to social economic issues in Vancouver.  

Like all cities, Vancouver has its own social economic issues.  Unlike Canadian mosaic multiculturalism, which can be seen and felt in every street corner and shopping center, the socioeconomic layers are often segmented with little mingling, especially for the struggling and down-and-out groups. International Village Mall is the one shopping center that has the most socioeconomic diversity and inclusion in Vancouver.  I am sure the mall did not set up to be such and but the end result remains that anytime I go there, I see people from all economic levels and colours there.  This diversity comes from the mall’s unique geographical location - it connects Gastown, Vancouver Downtown Eastside/Vancouver downtown East Hastings, Chinatown and downtown in general. 

As I was waiting for my lunch in Congee Noodle Delight, two disheveled, long-haired men in half-ripped shirts came in the mall.  They were followed by a tiny Asian grandmotherly woman who shuffled very tiny steps to the restaurant to order a take out.  A group of tourists, cameras and maps in hand, came in to have a late lunch.  There is a Starbucks at the mall’s southwest entrance.  Business attired, students and anyone who needs wi-fi  congregate there with their laptops and cell phones.  The middle of the mall has an open area with benches what are often occupied by seniors chatting to each other.  People from disadvantaged groups come in and out of the mall, just like the office workers and the seniors.  No one bats an eyelash at anyone or their dress code.  The security guards are not out to chase away anyone who may be deemed out of place and asked to leave in other shopping centers.  All in all, the visitors and the business owners in the little mall all seem to get along with each other and treats everyone the same.

I always feel blessed to be living in Vancouver  and Canada whenever I am in the mall and see that everyone from the destitute to the well-off get along with each other.  It is a nice feeling to have.  

Kudos to the bed and breakfasts guests for bringing Vancouver’s diversity and inclusion to my mind so that I remember to appreciate what is around me.  

Posted 19 weeks ago

All roads lead to Granville Island from Traveller Vancouver Bed and Breakfast

Walking is undoubtedly the best way to explore a city and Vancouver Traveller Bed and Breakfast is located in an ideal spot for that.  Granville Island is one of the top attractions for tourists and locals alike.  There are three scenic routes to take from Traveller Vancouver bed and breakfast to Granville Island.  Each route is unique in its own ways and offers delightful sights along the way.

Option 1 - from the bed and breakfast, turn right (west) to go to Yew/Vine or Balsam street.  Turn right (north) and go straight down to the Kitsilano beach, once you are at the beach, turn right (east) and follow the shore to Granville Island.

You will see a typical Vancouver westside neighbourhood along the streets until you reach the beach.  If you take Balsam, then you pass the Kitsilano Pool, Vancouver’s only saltwater swimming pool.  If you take Yew, then you miss the Pool.  Regardless, once you are at the Kitsilano beach, you head east (right) to follow the world-renowned Seawall to get to the Granville Island.  On a rainy day, you can have the most exciting time in the Maritime Museum, Vancouver Museum and the Space Center in the Vanier Park.  In Vanier Park, I had the pleasure of watching people flying huge, impressive kits.  It was a magical moment to see the kits flying exuberantly in the sky while observing the kite flyers intensely focused on controlling the gigantic kits.  All along the Kitsilano Beach, you can sit on one of the many benches to take in the sights, relax and feel the stress ebbing away.

Option 2 - from the bed and breakfast, turn left and across the Arbutus Street to go on the Arbutus Greenway.  Take the Greenway to the end of the north end at 6th Avenue and Fir.  From there, look for the Granville Bridge and head toward it.  You will see Granville Island entrance underneath the bridge.

Arbutus Greenway is approximately 9 kilometer and you are walking on the north end of the Arbutus Greenway from W. 21st Avenue and Arbutus to W. 6th Avenue and Arbutus.  The Greenway continues along W. 6th Avenue to Fir.  At the corner of 6th Avenue and Maple Street, you can check out the demonstration farm run by City Farmer.  There are also lush community gardens along the 6th Avenue to beck you to slow down to smell the rose and perhaps, vegetables.  

Option 3 - from the bed and breakfast, go across Arbutus Street and go through the very posh (aka…very, very expensive) Shaughnessy neighbourhood and you should eventually come out on Granville Street.  Once on Granville Street, turn left (north) and walk to W. 5th Avenue.  You can check out the unique shops in the South Granville retail district, on Granville Street, between W. 16th Avenue and the bridge.  Once you see the Granville bridge, on 5th Avenue, through the Granville Loop Park at the south end of the Granville bridge and once again, underneath the bridge, you’ll see entrance to Granville Island.

In Shaughnessy, there are mansions and well-manicured gardens.  You will hardly see anyone in that neighbourhood.  I have not seen more than five people any time I walked there.  It is considered one of the most prestigious neighbourhoods in Canada.  The price tags may be shocking (the majority is  $10 million and up…) but it is an tranquil area to walk through.  Every house is unique and full of charms.  If you like architecture and history, then you will love exploring this grand dame neighbourhood.  Check out Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s interactive map for all the heritage houses there.

The South Granville retail area is not only known for shopping but my personal favorites are the art galleries closer to the bridge and of course, the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, commonly known as the Stanley Theater.  

Posted 19 weeks ago

History of Traveller Bed and Breakfast in Vancouver

Our bed and breakfast guests often ask about the B&B history.  The B&B started in year 2000 when a family friend suggested to Mom and Jenny to operate a bed and breakfast instead of having roommates.    For a business name, the entire family liked the the word, Traveller, as everyone visits places and journeys through life.  

The first Traveller bed and breakfast was in the family’s first home in Canada.  It was a charming little house by Joyce skytrain station in Vancouver East Side.  The top floor had two small bedrooms and a shared bath.  The main floor had another bedroom with a private bathroom next to it.  The breakfasts were served in the kitchen nook as the dining room was taken up by two pianos and book cases.  I found some old receipts that showed the rooms were rented for $55 and $65 in the peak season - those were the days!

image

In 2006, we sold the first family home and bought an utterly enchanting house in Vancouver West Side.  As old name did not apply anymore, we changed the name to Vancouver Traveller Bed and Breakfast.  The house was full of idiosyncrasies, including a main entrance on the side of the house - which is almost unheard of in Vancouver.  We renovated the house so that every guest room had its own private bathroom and we added a garden level suite.  We also restored the original hardwood floor with intricate inlaid patterns, revealed the fir floor under the carpet and scratched our heads on how to paint the rounded ceilings.  There was a raised garden with rhododendron, azaleas and peonies.  

image

In 2014, Mom retired and Linda came back to run the bed and breakfast.  Before her return, we came to realize that as the family grew, the house was big enough for the family or the bed and breakfast but not both.  After more than two years of wavering between renovation or building from the ground-up, we made the difficult decision to tear down the beloved house to custom-built a house with the family, business and environment in mind.  During the construction period in 2015-2016, we rented a house in the prestigious South Granville residential neighbourhood.   It was a huge house with the master bedroom the size of an one-bedroom apartment and the living/dining space were similarly cavernous to the point there was almost an echo.  It was not ‘charming’ in the classical way but we sure miss the space.

image

The construction began in early 2015.  We had the most fabulous architect, many wonderful trades people and city inspectors who helped us along the way.  Through mostly good times, and a few tear-my-hair-out and bang-the-head-on-the-brick-wall moments, the house was finished in early 2016 and we moved on April 1, 2016, April Fool’s day.  It was an aptly chosen date because we were fools in moving into a house that wasn’t totally finished….but that’s another post.

So, this Vancouver bed and breakfast is run by 3 different generations and, including the rental house, has had 3 different addresses in three very distinct neighbourhoods and 4 different houses.   The richness and the continuity of our bed and breakfast are quite unusual for a Vancouver bed and breakfast and we welcome the B&B guests to come to share their history with us.  


image
image
image
image
image
Posted 19 weeks ago